After a routine appointment, it is common for us to see a couple of cows that may be under the weather for one reason or another, and it was no different on a recent visit.
We stopped to look at a cow with a bad quarter that was swollen and sore. When a cluster was applied the ACR just knocked it off, and when hand stripped you could feel a hard lump within the teat and no milk could be stripped. Understandably she was not very amenable!
The cause of teat granulomas is debated, but they are generally accepted to be associated with chronic inflammation. Here the teat pea was fairly fixed in the teat canal, but sometimes they can be movable and even manually stripped out.
However, in this case, she was too painful and the pea too large and fixed to continue to milk. As you can see from the picture – she was quite swollen!
This left us with limited options but essentially, we either needed to remove the pea, or the teat!
Local anaesthetic was used to ring block the teat base and was also infused up the teat canal. Using the slightly barbaric looking Hudson teat spiral, inserted higher than the level of the blockage, the canal was cleared and OH THE SATISFACTION!
After plenty of free-flowing mastitis milk and subsequent stripping out the pressure release must have been such a relief.
Due to the trauma to the teat canal and sphincter from the removal of the granuloma (and following clots!) further pain relief was advised as the local would soon wear off. She is also at high risk of subsequent mastitis so will need further stripping out and some tubes.
Best case scenario is that she manages to get over her mastitis, has no recurrence and can remain milking on all 4!
However, the teat may also have to be dried off once the mastitis has cleared. If this is the case, the other 3 teats will produce considerably more than 75% of the previous milk yield due to increased blood flow to the remaining milking quarters!